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Loving Coping

 

Techniques Happiness > Loving Coping

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

When times are tough and you have to cope with difficulties, work to sustain love. It is too easy to push it away with anger, frustration, fear and other responses.

To sustain love through difficult times, put effort beforehand into strong and robust relationships developing friends, family and partners who will support you when you are down. A way to do this is to help them likewise and generally build social capital so people like you and will feel some obligation to help when you need it.

Discussion

Harvard psychiatrist George Valliant directed research (the 'Grant Study') that ran between 1972 and 2004, which followed the lives over 75 years of 268 Harvard graduates from the classes of 1938 to 1940. Their fundamental finding is that, as the Beatles sang, 'Love is all you need'. Importantly also, they found that when its subjects had to cope with difficulties, as we all do, those that sustained greater happiness were those who found ways to cope without pushing love away. Valliant crudely but effectively described successful coping as 'the capacity to make gold out of shit'.

 A key step in this is to avoid the self-focus of narcissism and to spend more time outside your head, with other people, on hobbies and so on. Me-focus is a trap that can easily lead to negative perceptions of the outer world and the motivations of others.

The Grant Study also found that power and money did not correlate significantly with greater happiness other than providing enough resource for a comfortable life. It also found that one's beginnings in life was not significant and that even those who started with great disadvantage could find deep and lasting happiness.

See also

Coping Mechanisms, Self vs. Others preference

 

Valliant, G.E. (2012). Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study, Belknap Press

 

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